Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Indeed.com founder Paul Forster among high profile investors in green laundry start-up Oxwash
A "space age" water-efficient, low-emissions laundry service that disinfects material using ozone gas has bagged £1.4m of backing from a raft of high-profile investors, inluding Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Indeed.com founder Paul Forster, TrueSight Ventures, and Founders Factory.
Oxwash, which announced the new investment yesterday, cleans laundry and ferries it to and from customers via electric bikes. The company claims its "medical-grade" sanitisation process is more environmentally friendly than traditional laundry services, and helps reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
The company is aiming to be the first "truly sustainable laundry company in the world" by developing a "net-zero carbon emissions" process including pick-up, washing, and delivery. It claims its use of recycled water saves 60 per cent of water consumption compared to traditional washing services and its advanced microfibre filtration technology prevents more than 95 per cent of fibres in each cycle from reaching waterways and drinking water.
Moreover, its laundry service combines an ozone disinfection process developed for use in space and hospitals alongside more traditional thermal and chemical processes, the Oxford-based start-up explained. The company said the technology not only reduced the need for harsh, environmentally-damaging peroxide chemicals in the washing process, but could also fully scrub infectious viruses from clothing.
And while ozone, which is generated from electricity and oxygen, is a greenhouse gas, Oxwash said the ozone used in its cleaning process degrades back to oxygen "within minutes" and is therefore "inert and safe".
Oxwash co-founder Kyle Grant, a former NASA engineer, explained that while the firm had rapidly turned its attention to fighting the spread of coronavirus, the "original goal for the business remains to help the planet", with it "focusing on the eco-friendly nature of our tech compared to traditional laundry options".
Over the past two months, the firm has been providing laundry services to a major Oxford University vaccine trial, as well as GP surgeries and vulnerable community members, including care homes. Now, having secured the latest £1.4m funding boost, Grant said the firm would be "doubling down on our software development, including our app, and rolling out the service to London later this year while continuing to focus on our original locations - Oxford and Cambridge".
TrueSight Ventures' Igor Tikhturov said he had been won-over by the start's up vision. "We have been impressed by Oxwash's ambition to build the world's best laundry, dry cleaning and ironing service and its use of space-age technology to achieve this," he said. "With the team's brilliant engineering minds working on new ways to adapt the traditional laundry market they are finding ways to make easy and convenient access to medical grade laundry services that have zero carbon emissions and save water at the same time."
Entrepreneur Biz Stone added: "Our world is in unknown territory and people are turning to tech for options to improve their lives. Oxwash is using revolutionary technology that can be utilised to prevent viral transmission on textiles during this period and give people reassurance about their safety and those of their loved ones. "
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